March 21, 2023
BoilerUpload - Game Preview - NCAA East Region: #1 Purdue, #16 FDU

BoilerUpload – Game Preview – NCAA East Region: #1 Purdue, #16 FDU

Headlines, Bulletin Board Material, and The Cinderella Story

Sometimes the narratives write themselves and there are plenty of obvious headlines to find when #1 Purdue takes on #16 FDU in Columbus, Ohio on Friday night.

The most obvious story will be size. FDU is the smallest team in the country, while Purdue has Zach Edey, the most dominant big man in college basketball, 7-4. Zach Edey is already the Big Ten Player of the Year and is the most likely national player of the year after finishing the season scoring 22.3 points per game and grabbing 12.8 rebounds.

Fairleigh Dickinson’s tallest player is 6-6. It is the lowest team in the country. Their starters go 5-8, 5-9, 6-3, 6-4 and 6-6.

Purdue’s average height is 6-6.

There is also that other discrepancy in the value of their sowing. Purdue is the #1 seed while FDU is #16.

It has happened, the ultimate Cinderella story, and a #2 seed has already dropped with Princeton taking down Arizona on Thursday. So you can excuse FDU coach Tobin Anderson for his exuberance in exclaiming to his team after it beat Texas Southern in the play-in game on Wednesday: “I walked in for breakfast this morning and (assistant coach) Kam Murrell told me, ‘The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them.’ We’re going to shock the world.”

But like David, defeating Zach Edey and Purdue’s Goliath will be a tall order.

Fairleigh Dickinson 84-61 over South Texas

FDU’s pace and 3-pointers were on display in Dayton as they won their 16th ranking game against Texas Southern.

Five different players hit a 3-pointer, and as a team, FDU shot 11-27 from the perimeter. Ansley Almonor led all scorers with 27 points, but they found points throughout their first five. The starting five scored in double figures with just 6 points coming off the bench.

But even more than his perimeter shooting was his ability to get into the paint and get to the line. Almonor went a perfect 8 of 8 from the line and as a team, FDU got to 31 tries and made 27 of them.

They will try to use the size of Purdue against them, keeping up with and outplaying the bigs at Edey and Purdue.

As a team, FDU is just a mediocre 3-point shooting team this season, making 34.7% of their 3-point attempts. They knock down 75% of their free throw attempts.

But there are real concerns, obviously, about his rebounding and his defense. They are the lowest ranked 359 defense in the country. Even if they can pick up the pace, they don’t seem to have an answer for the top-10 offense of Zach Edey or Purdue.

avoid history

Purdue’s goals should be simple in Columbus. Take your opponent seriously, rebound and play hard. They have more talent and size everywhere, and can use FDU’s insistence on running and gunning as practice against a non-Big Ten team.

Zach Edey’s advantage is clear. Look to the Purdue bench to really make a difference against a skinny FDU team that will somehow try to avoid inside and on the glass foul issues.

Trey Kaufman-Renn hasn’t had many opportunities to play against the smaller bigs, but if Purdue gets up early, expect him to get plenty of chances to put on a show in his first NCAA Tournament.

Matt Painter Quotes

On Thursday’s podium, Matt Painter had this to say about FDU: “Like everyone else, we’re excited to be in the NCAA Tournament. Our guys have worked so hard to be in a great position, but we’re really looking forward to the challenge of playing Fairleigh Dickinson, who got a big win last night and did some really good stuff.

I really like his backcourt, his quickness, his ability, his ability to drive the basketball and his overall aggressiveness. They have interchangeable parts, they are difficult to face, but their athleticism and their length.

And we’ll have to do a good job guarding the basketball on the offensive end and be able to contain them while protecting the 3-point line. They hit seven 3-pointers in the first half, which made a big difference before halftime. Made a couple more after that.

But really, really impressed with Fairleigh Dickinson. Have a very good coach. You can see that they are connected at both ends of the floor. And I just look forward to that challenge.”

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